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2017 TNA Ballot Candidates

Friday, April 21, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nadia Tamez-Robledo
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The Texas Nurses Association’s Nominating Committee announced on Dec. 15, 2016, the following proposed ballot. Candidate positions for ballot placement were selected by random drawing.


Secretary (2017-2019)


Debbie Pena, MSN, RN, Victoria

“Being a member of Texas Nurses Association has had such an important and positive impact on my life. It has encouraged me to be a ‘Voice’ for Texas Nurses! When nurses speak, legislators listen!

As Secretary, I would like to help welcome new members and retain existing members. I would also like to be a part of the nursing shortage solution.”


A Registered Nurse since 1996, Debbie Pena, MSN, RN, has been active with TNA since 2009. She has served as president of District 20, participated in Nurse Day at the Capitol, and from 2011 to 2016 she represented District 20 at the TNA House of Delegates. In addition, she organized the District 20 Golf Tournament Fundraiser for Nursing Scholarships from 2010-2014.



Kleanthe Caruso, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Tyler

“I want to contribute to building a leadership infrastructure to keep TNA strong and drive change at the local and state levels. My previous administrative positions and contacts with state and national leaders have given me valuable knowledge and sensitivity to the voices of nurses and health care providers and consumers. I will use that knowledge to advocate for the profession and give voice to the concerns and realities of the times.”


Currently a clinical instructor with the University of Texas at Tyler, Kleanthe Caruso, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, is a former president of District 19 and a former TNA board member. She served as chair of the Board of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and currently is a member of TNA’s inaugural Policy Council.


Treasurer (2017-2019)


Patricia Morrell, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Winnie

“I have a long history with Texas Nurses Association at the local and state level … I believe that TNA is the voice for Texas nurses and as such, it will be my responsibility and duty to serve as an advocate for nursing in Texas. I have been involved in the TNA transition process over the last several years and … can proudly represent the nurses of Texas as I have done in the past.”

Patricia Morrell, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, is the Director of Professional Practice for CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System. A former President of District 12, Morrell has been active in the TNA Government Affairs Committee, chairing it for four years. She has also served on the TNA Board for the past two years.



Gayle H. Dasher, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, San Antonio

“As our profession evolves … TNA needs to continue to respond to the question, ‘What matters most to nurses, and how do we attain those goals?’ The financial health of TNA and the wise stewardship of our resources will in no small way impact the manner in which we work to achieve those goals. Our available resources will impact our ability to develop, refine, and implement the initiatives that are vital to moving nursing forward in the state.”


A Registered Nurse since 1983, Gayle Dasher, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, is the Director of Clinical Practice at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System in San Antonio. She is a member of TNA’s inaugural Policy Council, a former president of District 8, and a former member of TNA’s Finance Committee.




Director-at-Large, Position #1, Representing A Smaller District (2017-2020) (Choose one)*

Karen Koerber-Timmons, PhD, RN, CNE, NEA-BC, CCRN, RN-BC, Ore City

“I currently am in a unique position to work with various stakeholders in an inter-professional and interdisciplinary approach as a nurse leader, nurse educator, critical care nurse, and active community service influence to advance critical TNA priorities for the future of health care in the state of Texas.”


A professor at the University of Texas at Tyler School of Nursing, Karen Koerber-Timmons, PhD, RN, CNE, NEA-BC, CCRN, RN-BC, is president of TNA District 19, a member of the TNA Government Affairs Committee, and recently joined the TNA/TONE Health IT Toolkit Committee. She has represented District 19 several times at the TNA House of Delegates and has also served as the Faculty Liaison to the Texas Nursing Students Association for almost 10 years.



Andrea Kerley, MBA, MSN, RN, Abilene

“The foundation of strength for TNA not only lies with the TNA staff in Austin, but our membership. My years as a TNA member and district president of a small district have given me a good perspective on the challenges small districts face. Reaching the nurses in these districts … is vital to meet their needs for resources that are often lacking, as well as to provide their voice in the legislative agenda.”


Currently a clinical analyst with Hendrick Medical Center, Andrea Kerley, MBA, MSN, RN, has been with Hendrick since 1995. She has served as the president of District 15 since 2007 and was a member of the TNA Nominating Committee. She has also been a Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN) nurse advocate since 2001.



Patricia Freier, MSN, RN-BC, RCIS, Lubbock

“Advocating for nurses to be able to embrace practicing to the fullest extent of their education and training includes health policy engagement. Texas Nurses Association has a rich history of policy development and legislative navigation. It is a great privilege to serve my profession … I will work to engage more nurses from a diverse workforce to protect and serve the citizens of Texas.”


Formerly president of District 18, Patricia Freier, MSN, RN-BC, RCIS, has also served on the district Nominating Committee and as chair of the District 18 GAC. Since 2008, she has been a member of the TNA CNE Committee and has been active in the TNA Government Affairs Committee. She is currently a project specialist for quality improvement at Covenant Health, where she has worked since 1991.



*TNA Bylaws, Article VIII Board of Directors and Duties of the Board, Section 1. Composition of the Board: The Board of Directors shall be the four officers plus five directors-at-large. At least one of the directors-at-large shall not be a member of the five largest districts. For purposes of this section, a district-at-large shall not be counted as one of the five largest districts regardless of the number of members.


Director-at-Large, Position #2 (2017-2020) (Choose one) **
** Do not vote for the same person twice. After voting for a candidate for Position #1, do not vote a second time for that candidate for Position #2.

Karen Koerber-Timmons, PhD, RN, CNE, NEA-BC, CCRN, RN-BC, Ore City (See bio above.)


Andrea Kerley, MBA MSN RN, Abilene (See bio above.)


Shakyryn Napier, DHSc, MSN, RN, CPN, Aledo

“I strongly believe in TNA and its commitment to nurses in Texas … I would like to focus on promoting a better understanding of TNA and its benefits to both current and future members … [and] on active engagement of current bedside nurses with a particular focus on newly graduated nurses to continue to build a strong future for TNA and the nursing profession.”


Shakyryn Napier, DHSc, MSN, RN, CPN, is a nursing director at Cook Children’s Medical Center. A former president of District 3, she is active in the TNA Government Affairs Committee and serves as the District 3 GARD (Government Affairs Representative for District). Napier was a member of the TNA Finance Committee and in 2016, received the District 3 President’s Award. 


Clarissa Silva, PhD, MSN, RN, San Antonio

“The Texas Nurses Association gives nurses a strong voice we would not have … I would make sure that all communication that is needed to be delivered to the Texas Nursing public was disseminated in an efficient and concise manner… I think that use of all our technology should be utilized to reach our members in the Texas Community Districts.”


A Registered Nurse since 1991, Clarissa Silva, PhD, MSN, RN, is currently the director of simulation and clinical learning lab for the Galen College of Nursing in San Antonio. She has been a member of TNA since 2013 and has served as secretary and first vice president for TNA District 8. She also represented District 8 at the 2014 House of Delegates.


Patricia Freier, MSN, RN-BC, RCIS, Lubbock (See bio above)




Nominating Committee (2017-2019) (Choose two)


Irene Rosales, MSN, RN, Laredo

“It is my desire to work diligently to make the nominating process as smooth as possible. I possess prior experience as a member of the nominating committee for TNA District 8 and TSNO [Texas School Nurse Organization]. If elected, I will ensure that everyone that would like to run for a selected office is given the opportunity and the guidance to fulfill their information promptly. I will ensure that the process is expedited and thorough to ensure we have enough candidates to fill the elected positions.”


A Registered Nurse since 1989, Irene Rosales, MSN, RN, is the Health Services Director for United Independent School District. She has represented District 8 at the TNA House of Delegates. In 2016, she was inducted into the Laredo Commission Women Hall of Fame.



Susan Ramnarine-Singh, EdD, MSN, RN, Harker Heights

“I have been an active member since 2008 at my district level. With my present and past experience, [I] want to serve at the state level to help expand the mission & vision of TNA.


Susan Ramnarine-Singh, EdD, MSN, RN, is seeking re-election to the TNA Nominating Committee. She is currently the simulation coordinator and a professor of nursing at Central Texas College. Prior to joining CTC, she served two decades in the Army Nurse Corps, retiring in 2005. Ramnarine-Singh has been on the District 7 Board of Directors for nine years in various capacities, including secretary. She also handles social media and the website for District 7. Ramnarine-Singh was recently awarded the DAISY Faculty Award by the CTC Nursing Department.


Orlando Chapa, DNP, RN, NE-BC, Aledo

“This committee plays a vital role in vetting and slating an outstanding ballot for TNA members. During my first term, I gained valuable firsthand knowledge of the work and challenges in developing a statewide ballot. I am confident this initial exposure allows me to hit the ground running during a second term. As a committee, we have an opportunity to network and identify our candidate pool early. We have and need our strong nursing leaders throughout the state to guide our TNA mission.”


Assistant Vice President of Nursing at Cook Children’s Medical Center, Orlando Chapa, DNP, RN, NE-BC is seeking re-election to the Nominations Committee. He is active in District 3 and represented the district at the TNA House of Delegates.


Laura Opton, DHSc, RN, CNE, Lubbock

“This is an exciting time for nursing, and the next generation of leaders must be compassionate, knowledgeable, and assertive professionals who are prepared to advocate for nurses in all settings and to promote the common purpose identified by TNA of advancing nursing excellence. If elected to serve in the Nominating Committee, I will collaborate with the other members to recognize outstanding individuals that will make these initiatives a reality.”


Laura Opton, DHSc, RN, CNE, is the director of the Accelerated BSN Program (second degree BSN track) and an associate professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing. She has chaired the District 18 Nominating Committee and participated in the planning of the District 18 Nurse Week Banquet.

Texas Nurses Association

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